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Graphic Design

What will I study?

Graphic Design takes ideas, concepts, text and images and presents them in a visually engaging form through print, electronic or other media.  It imposes an order and structure to the content in order to ease the communication process, while optimising the likelihood that the message will be received and understood by the target audience.  A graphic designer achieves this goal through the conscious manipulation of elements.  This may include art direction, text, page layout, information technology and other creative aspects which will be realised through book and magazine illustration and design, CD covers, architectural visuals, posters and packaging.

Students will be expected to work in some of the following areas:  illustration, advertising, packaging, web design, communication and video.

The AS course consists of integrated practical, critical and theoretical study using a variety of media and processes.  This will be supported by the use of sketchbooks and first hand experience of relevant works of graphic design.  The art & design department encourages students to develop intellectual, imaginative, creative and intuitive powers; investigative, analytical, experimental, practical, technical and expressive skills, aesthetic understanding and critical judgement; an understanding of the interrelationships between art, craft and design and an awareness of the contexts in which they operate; knowledge and understanding of graphic design in contemporary society and in other times and cultures.

We aim to develop the skills of the individual, helping them attain their true potential whilst increasing their personal confidence and so developing an enthusiasm for the subject.

The A2 course is designed to build on the AS, allowing for greater depth of study.  A2 candidates will have the opportunity to continue practical work and, in addition, students are required to submit written work in one module in support of their practical work.

How will I be assessed?

The AS award comprises of two compulsory assessment units:

Unit 1 is the coursework module. It is completed during the Autumn and Spring term. Projects are set to build on the GCSE course and are organised in a similar way. Students are expected to submit a final piece or pieces which must be accompanied by preliminary studies. The unit is closely monitored through frequent one to one discussion, target setting, group presentations and marking.  On completion during the Summer term the coursework is centre-assessed and moderated by AQA.

Unit 2 is the controlled test. This unit is set by AQA, centre-assessed and moderated by AQA. The Controlled Test consists of a range of questions to be used as starting points. Students are required to select one question.

The Controlled Test is in two parts: a preparatory period of six weeks when candidates carry out their initial research and investigations and identify artists, designers and craftspeople whose work they wish to make connections with; and a timed five hour unaided test when candidates are required to respond to their initial investigations and plan further developments.

The A2 award comprises of two assessment units:

Unit 3. Students are required to submit a final piece or pieces which must be accompanied by preliminary/supporting studies.  This unit will be a clearly defined selection of coursework which makes up a whole, demonstrating evidence of the working processes involved, addressing all four assessment objectives and leading to a finished piece or pieces.  The emphasis of this unit should be on self-directed study based on a personal issue, interest or concern.  Candidates must demonstrate evidence of greater maturity and depth in the skills, knowledge and understanding gained at AS.  Evidence of more advanced skills and techniques, as specified in the subject content, is required.  In addition, students are required to submit written work in support of their practical work, of approximately 3000 words.  Quality of written communication will be assessed in this unit.  The research and analytical skills, the ability to reflect upon their own work and to identify connections with the work of others, will build upon those skills learned in aspects of units 1and 2.

Unit 4. The Controlled Test consists of a range of questions to be used as starting points set by AQA.  Students are required to select one question.  The Controlled Test is in two parts: a preparatory period of six weeks when candidates carry out their initial research and investigations and identify artists, designers and craftspeople whose work they wish to make connections with; and a timed fifteen hour unaided test when candidates are required to produce a final realisation.  Candidates are required to demonstrate their ability to respond to a given stimulus within the specified time limit.

Each unit is assessed separately by the centre and moderated by AQA.

Students will be expected to demonstrate a response to all of the assessment objectives in each unit of assessment of the examination.  Students should be able to:

  • record observations, experiences, ideas, information and insights in visual and other forms, appropriate to intentions;

 

  • analyse and evaluatecriticallysources such as images, objects, artefacts and texts, showing understanding of purposes, meanings and contexts;

 

  • develop ideas throughsustainedinvestigations and exploration, selecting and using materials, processes and resources, identifying and interpreting relationships and analysing methods and outcomes;

 

  • present a personal,coherentand informed response, realising intentions, and articulating and explaining connections with the work of others.

 

Desirable requirements

It is felt that A and B grade Art and/or Product Design GCSE candidates will be well prepared for the Advanced Level courses.  Other candidates will be considered on presentation of a portfolio of work and evidence of a total commitment to the subject.

Where will it lead?

Everything we make and use has been designed by someone.  The typeface on this page, the machine which made the paper on which it is printed, the chair upon which you sit whilst you read it and the building you happen to be in at this moment (…. or bus, or boat, or bath or aeroplane).

Our modern world relies increasingly upon visual literacy in communication.  It is a world of images whether drawn, painted, printed, televised or computer generated and the artist is at the source of the image.  Career opportunities are alphabetical and endless from architecture to automotive design, book illustration to buyer, ceramics to curatorships - right through to Xerox machines, yachts and zips - they have all been drawn and designed in the beginning.

Graphic Design could be taken with Art & Design and/or Product Design to give a package of relevant A-levels for students who wish to pursue a career in the design industry, as well as building a portfolio of work for interview at degree level or for employment.

Many of our students go on to Foundation Art courses or direct entry to a variety of degrees in art & design areas.